Selling your artwork can be an exciting experience, but the shipping process can turn out to be a bit of a headache. Convelio’s Edouard Gouin provides some useful tips to ensure the process does not hinder your selling experience.
Transporting art means carrying and caring for objects that are unique, culturally significant, financially valuable and personally important. These can be passion pieces, heirlooms, investments, gifts or decorations, but no matter the purpose or the destination of these objects, all shipments require the utmost care and attention. At Convelio, we are working to increase awareness of the importance of transporting art properly, with correct and complete knowledge. Utilising the services of a specialist like Convelio can provide knowledge and ensure treasured items get from A to B securely.
Art shippers work with galleries, auction houses, museums, collectors and interior designers to transport objects around the world. Powered by automated pricing technology developed in-house, we have brought clients the first instant quoting tool for competitively priced logistics services. As soon as a customer places an order with us, we take care of everything, from shipping to insurance, customs and real-time tracking.
As we have grown, our mission has evolved to not only carry out the best services, but provide the best shipping education for our clients to take forward with them. With over 14,000 shipments executed worldwide last year alone, I have supplied ten top tips here:
1. Know your shipment’s weight, dimensions, fragility and value.
This basic information is required for an efficient and safe shipping project and must be ready before looking for an art shipping quote.
2. Know your priorities with shipping – quick or inexpensive?
When shipping over long distances, there are two main choices for transporting artworks: air freight or sea freight. While the former is certainly much faster, the latter is almost always a more cost-effective, sustainable option.
3. Have a clear idea of what level of service you need – white glove, installation or simple drop-off?
Be mindful of what the delivery of a project looks like for you. Do you require a bespoke ‘nail-to-nail’ service or a simpler delivery for installation at a later date? Delivery-only options are a good way to lower costs, but may require that you move/open a large crate alone at delivery.
4. Be aware of your shipment’s fragility/temperature control/shocks and choose a shipper that can offer these services.
All types of artwork come with their own risk factors, so it is vital to work with a shipper that has the expertise to carry out a bespoke specialist shipping operation. Our automated booking system enables anyone to create a customised quote that includes comprehensive shipping and packing options. Our specialists are present at all stages of the logistics chain to ensure that the pieces travel in a perfectly secure manner.
5. Think about packaging – do you need a crate?
Depending on the transport to be performed and, above all, on the type and value of the pieces, a tailor-made crate should be considered. For large or valuable works that have already been transported in a crate, we systematically check that it meets our security standards and if so, we reuse it.
6. Understand the insurance requirements to cover the shipment and whether this is covered when you book (damage, theft, lost items)
Insurance is a crucial element of the art logistics process. With Convelio, this complex part of the project is generated automatically by our algorithm. The ad valorem insurance is based on the declared value of the artwork and covers possible damages and against loss.
7. Check reviews from clients with similar past shipping needs
Testimonials and reviews provide peace of mind that the specialised shipper is up to the task of transporting your artworks. Check to see if the chosen provider has experience of shipping your type of object. You can also ask people around you for information, have a look at the website and Google reviews.
8. Look at the environmental costs of the shipment and take into consideration different options
All players in the art world should take into consideration the environmental cost of their activities, from makers, sellers, buyers and everyone else involved in the mechanics of the industry, such as shippers, packers, storage providers, to marketers and journalists. Following the publication of our emissions report, we will be adding a CO2 calculator into our booking platform to provide transparency on carbon emissions for each shipment.
9. Make sure you know what to expect when it comes to duties and taxes
Moving from one economic zone to another often means that export and import duties and taxes must be considered into the total cost of transportation, so it is very important for clients to be familiar with that. Don’t be shy, and ask your carrier to estimate what the additional cost would be – also, many shippers, including ourselves, have written tutorials on this topic.
10. Ask for art restoration referrals
Use the contacts you have made in the art buying process (such as your gallery or previous shipper) to advise on any work needed for the artwork. We have built a network of service providers to support beyond the art shipping process, so it is important to ask!